Music Discussions

Natural

natural

Imagine Dragons – Natural

Main Point:   Champions push through adversity, but what is the difference between self-reliance and truly trusting God?

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, Spotify, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.
  • Imagine Dragons started climbing the charts in 2013 and have shown no signs of slowing down.Hailing from Las Vegas, they released their third studio album entitled Evolve in June of 2017, and their fourth album Origins less than eighteen months later.
  • Their song Zero from Origins will be featured in the November 2018 movie Ralph Breaks the Internet, further demonstrating their mainstream appeal.
  • The spiritual themes in their music are influenced by the Mormon faith of front man Dan Reynolds.
  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song – You Say This:   In a press release announcing the song, lead singer Dan Reynolds speaks about Natural saying; “Living in a dog-eat-dog world can bring out the worst in you, and sometimes, the best…Natural is about finding yourself and being willing and able to stand up to whatever adversity comes your way.”  The song peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was chosen as the seasonal anthem to the 2018 ESPN College Football on ABC show.

The Music Video:  The music video can be viewed for free at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I647GU3Jsc

 

Song Lyrics:  Natural

Will you hold the line
When every one of them has given up and given in? Tell me
In this house of mine
Nothing ever comes without a consequence or cost, tell me
Will the stars align?
Will Heaven step in? Will it save us from our sin? Will it?
‘Cause this house of mine stands strong
That’s the price you pay
Leave behind your heart and cast away
Just another product of today
Rather be the hunter than the prey
And you’re standing on the edge, face up ’cause you’re a
Natural
A beating heart of stone
You gotta be so cold
To make it in this world
Yeah, you’re a natural
Living your life cutthroat
You gotta be so cold
Yeah, you’re a natural
Will somebody
Let me see the light within the dark trees shadowing?
What’s happenin’?
Lookin’ through the glass find the wrong within the past knowin’
Oh, we are the youth
Cut until it bleeds inside a world without the peace, face it
A bit of the truth, the truth
That’s the price you pay
Leave behind your heart and cast away
Just another product of today
Rather be the hunter than the prey
And you’re standing on the edge, face up ’cause you’re a…
Natural
A beating heart of stone
You gotta be so cold
To make it in this world
Yeah, you’re a natural
Living your life cutthroat
You gotta be so cold
Yeah, you’re a natural
Deep inside me, I’m fading to black, I’m fading
Took an oath by the blood of my hand, won’t break it
I can taste it, the end is upon us, I swear
Gonna make it
I’m gonna make it
Natural
A beating heart of stone
You gotta be so cold
To make it in this world
Yeah, you’re a natural
Living your life cutthroat
You gotta be so cold
Yeah, you’re a natural
Natural
Yeah, you’re a natural 

Three Questions to Ask in the Car (with thoughts to dive deeper with your kids):

Q: Why do you think he says “you gotta be so cold to make it in this world?”
A:  The goal is to start a conversation on what it means to be cold hearted and if it’s necessary to have a degree of coldness to be successful in this world.

Q: What would you say motivates you?
A: Finding out what motivates a child is a goldmine.  If they can help you understand the places where they find motivation, there are many entry points here as a parent.

Q: Do you think you can be self-reliant and still trust God?  
A: This is intended to start a dialogue about what it means to trust God, and the role that denying yourself plays in that trust.

Where to Take It from Here:  Wherever it feels natural (no pun intended!)  If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful!  (There is a guide just after that paragraph that helps you do just that.)  If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged – the next time it feels right, try out another song.  Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion: 
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation?  CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.

Transition Statement – Say Something Like This:  This song speaks of standing up to adversity in a myriad of situations.  Whether it is in sports or dealing with hardship in life, those who can push through are often those who come out on the other side in a better condition than then they started.  As you endure challenges, is it about persevering through your own strength or can you rely on God and still be considered a person of strength?  Let’s take some time and talk about what the song means when it says “Natural” and see what God’s Word has to say about persevering through adversity.

Discussion Questions:

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Looking at the lyrics, describe in your own words what you think it means to be a natural.
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Reynolds means when he says you gotta be so cold to make it in this world?  Do you agree with this?  Why or why not?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Look at the verse starting with will somebody let me see the light within the trees shadowing. What do you think he is trying to communicate through this verse?  (let them answer before asking the second question) Do you tend to be a person who tries to find the good in the bad?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When you are in a challenging situation, where do you tend to go to find strength?  Is it a person, a song, a mindset, etc.?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think it means to rather be the hunter than the prey?  How is this true in your spiritual life as well?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Which is easier – relying on yourself, or relying on God?  In your opinion, what is the difference?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Now that you’ve heard the song and we’ve talked about it some, according to the lyrics what do you think a Natural is?  Do you want to be one?  Why or why not?

Read the following passage:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the price?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  27No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  Because Paul (the writer of 1 Corinthians) is free in Christ, he wants people to know how he is using his freedom.  In this passage he talks about the discipline he puts in his own life so he can continue to do the things God has called him toward.  How would you define discipline?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  What does it mean to run in such a way as to get the prize?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  Looking at verse 25, motivation seems to be an important factor in running with perseverance.  What are some crowns we chase after that will not last?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What is the difference between running aimlessly and running with a purpose?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  If Paul (the author of these verses) is focused on a crown that will last, do you think he is relying on himself to win that prize?  Why or why not?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  In verse 27, Paul talks about keeping himself focused so he will not be disqualified from the prize.  The context in this is that Paul does not want to live in a way that would dishonor God.  What are some ways we can fail to honor God in the midst of adversity?
  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS:  What are some ways that you think Paul might have trusted God while persevering through adversity?

Wrap Up – Say Something Like This: In this time we just shared, we talked about pushing through adversity.  The song Natural focuses on standing up to adversity and we looked at relying on yourself versus trusting in God.  As you think back over this time, do you think you tend to look to yourself in adversity or do you quickly turn to God?  Talk to God about this and share your heart with Him about what your desire is when you face adversity in the future. 

(Pause and give them a quiet moment to reflect on this.)

When we trust God through our challenges, we will see Him do incredible things. Perspective is so important as we chase a crown that will last forever.  Perhaps you would benefit from taking a few moments before we close to ask God to continue to change your perspective – so you would look at what lasts instead of only seeing what is right in front of you. 

(Pause and give them a moment to pray silently.) 

Champions push through adversity, and those who discipline themselves to let God transform them through the hardships are those who come through these times with an increased faith and mature perspective.  Let’s be people who do more than just look to ourselves when we face a challenge. Let’s run with purpose and a passion to honor God and eagerly see what He might do as we persevere. 

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

ROB CHAGDES had his life interrupted by God as a sixteen year old. In the years since he met Jesus Rob has devoted his life to working with students —for two decades now— with the goal of helping teenagers and their parents walk with Jesus in a personal way. His passion is to raise up the next generation of students and youth workers who love God and love others. Rob and his wife Leslie live in northern Iowa with their three amazing daughters.

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